• Microsoft finally stops screwing Surface Pro 4 flickergate owners

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    In a well-orchestrated Friday night news dump, Microsoft has announced a reversal in its years-long customer-antagonistic flickergate policy. Flickerg
    [See the full post at: Microsoft finally stops screwing Surface Pro 4 flickergate owners]

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    • #191862

      I commend Microsoft for doing this… but they should have fixed the problem or instituted the exchange policy 2-3 years ago. I viewed the video & I wouldn’t call it flickering “violently”. But it is bad & annoying enough to warrant fixing or replacement. Says the guy whose 5-year old ASUS laptop screen has been clear as can be…

      Bought a refurbished Windows 10 64-bit, currently updated to 22H2. Have broke the AC adapter cord going to the 8.1 machine, but before that, coaxed it into charging. Need to buy new adapter if wish to continue using it.
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

    • #191864

      After the blatant start of the article “Creating the best products and experiences for our customers is our top priority”, I’m not sure how much the rest of it can be trusted 😛

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    • #191875

      Surface 3 4G LTE ROW (Rest Of World)

      I have had these problems since I bought this device from new, have reinstalled Windows several times, ensuring that I reinstall the latest version of the OS, and device specific drivers for Surface 3 4G ROW (Rest Of World).
      USB Selective Suspend doesn’t work (Surface 3 4G LTE docking station suspends, immediately kicks back in, goes into loop turning on and off, charging tablet) (also when battery drops to low level USB devices that should not suspend, Type Cover, 4G modem, Bluetooth adapter, are suspended).
      Full Hibernation set as default on mobile devices like Surface 3.
      Battery plugged in not charging.
      Windows claims drivers are not installed for hid sensor collection even though they are.
      Apps installed on SD card cause problems loading and running windows (frequently SD card requires error check).

      Built in 4G modem does not respond frequently (troubleshooter claims SIM PIN2 is required which is complete BS) and internet connection is lost (including WiFi), also causing Settings App to crash, problems with Network list, Windows Shell, etc.
      Wi-Fi goes missing sometimes.
      Docking station completely interferes with 2.4GHz radio (Bluetooth and WiFi) when using DisplayPort and/ or USB 3.0.
      Sounds from speakers crackle frequently, and volume controls lag. Sometimes sound doesn’t work at all.
      Mobile Hotspot doesn’t function without turning on WiFi connection, also doesn’t work consistently.
      GNSS sensor goes wrong sometimes.
      Compass never points in the correct direction, even after several attempts at calibrating it.
      Windows freezes.
      Touch Scroll on Arc touch mouse surface edition goes wrong frequently, requiring mouse to be turned off and on again.
      May very well be other serious problems that I am forgetting.

      Tablet turns off without warning, almost as though it is struggling to stay on due to a drop in power being supplied. This is happening since I disabled USB Selective Suspend on Battery. Was USB Selective Suspend enabled (even though it doesn’t work properly) by default in order to cover up this power consumption problem?

      Yes, I am still having these problems, even on the latest OS, and drivers.
      Has never worked properly since I bought it.

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    • #191929

      No point in M$ producing good-looking Surface mobile devices that do not work properly.

      Surface mobile devices are very thin and fanless but run the resource-hogging Win 10 = tend to overheat. This problem is similar to the reports of smartphones burning or exploding.

      So, no point really in exchanging the flickering Surface mobile devices for refurbished ones, unless they have been heavily throttled.

    • #191935

      Definitely a hardware issue and if Microsoft was committed to its customers. It shouldn’t have taken this long to address this the right way. But I think part of the issue is that these sort of devices are very difficult to repair. Maybe I would have put up with some flicker like this on a cheap netbook. But a Surface Pro definitely not and buyers should expect better from a device with Pro in the name. Besides expecting pro customer service as well.

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      • #192129

        Maybe I would have put up with some flicker like this on a cheap netbook.

        Not me.  I just sent my cheap ($180) “it’s a Chromebook but with Windows” laptop back to Dell for this very reason.  It’s in their shop now waiting for the part (they didn’t specify which) to arrive.

        It’s hard to tell how severe the flickering really is on one of those Surfaces without seeing it in person, as the camera can exaggerate it noticeably.  I took some videos of my Dell flickering with my digital camera to bolster my claim if they declared that it was okay and refused to fix it (which they didn’t), and it’s considerably worse than in the video clip referenced above, and definitely worse than it appears while using it.

        I use the “Greenstone” wallpaper that dates all the way back to XP, if I recall; it’s been my standard for more than 15 years.  Once I find something that works and is comfortable, I stick with it, and this is one of those things.  Greenstone seems to be particularly hard on LCDs; on all of my various PCs, there is a vague (and subtle) sense of movement or shimmer in the Greenstone image, but not a pronounced flicker as the $180 Dell had.

        I took a video with the same camera I used with the Dell on the display on my perceptually non-flickering Core 2 Duo laptop, it turned into a pronounced flicker on the video that I definitely could not see looking at the laptop screen itself.  The flicker in the video for the Dell LCD was far worse.

        The Dell’s flicker is not, as far as I can tell, a PWM issue.  PWM is often used to adjust the backlight brightness (usually the backlights are LED now; in my flicker-prone laptop that came with ME, it was the CCFL that flickered), but the flicker I have is in the LCD itself.

        To prevent burn-in, LCD controllers invert (flip) the voltage to each pixel (which is formed from three subpixels: red, green, blue) for each frame.  If you’re looking at a solid white screen, it’s really giving the first, third, fifth, etc., pixels in a given row the full voltage, while the second, fourth, sixth, etc., pixels are given the full negative voltage.  The next frame, it’s swapped; the first, third, fifth, etc., are now given full negative voltage, while the even-numbered ones get the full (positive) voltage.  This happens 60 times a second in a standard 60hz refresh LCD, and it happens with any pixel that isn’t set to black (which is OFF, no voltage sent).

        In theory, the pixels should behave exactly the same being given positive and negative voltage, but it’s not always so.  If a pixel given x voltage is a tiny bit brighter or dimmer than when that same pixel is given the -x voltage, it can be seen as a flicker.  On my Dell LCD, I could at times see the variation in pixel brightness appearing as a faint checkerboard appearance.

        On certain images, the inversion effect is most visible, with Greenstone being one of them (25% luminance gray is another).

        I will have to wait and see what the outcome is as far as my cheap Dell goes, but they did accept it for repair under warranty, which it sounds like MS has thus far refused for their Surfaces.  If Dell can do it for a $180 laptop, MS can do it for a device costing many times that.  Of course, Dell can repair my laptop because it’s not permanently glued or welded together…


        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

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        • #192148

          I’m curious if your dell and the surface four problems are caused by defective LCD controller chips or whatever is the real source of the errors.

        • #192155

          This is a very well described condition that I would have clumsily written off as ‘strobe effect’, a very well known hazard to amateur 8mm filmmakers from years gone by.

          Imagine if you line up the cancelling features of 1\ the original display, 2\ the image capture mechanism of the recording ‘camera’, 3\ the data saving conversion to a preferred format, and 4\ the redisplay at time of viewing, [5\ forgot the ambient artificial light source in use at each display/capture event]. I may have missed a couple of extra points where original image pieces may be lost, and additional artifacts are introduced.

          It is somewhat amazing that any images are useful at all.

          This does not excuse the initial failure of the original display, only highlights the difficulty in recreating it accurately.

      • #192147

        That flickering surely must be inducing headaches and eye strain for Surface four users.

    • #192067

      New hardware from Laptop makers is so overrated currently IMO and this matches Windows 10 perfectly.

      I would love there to be something decent to buy but I think I won’t be buying a new laptop for at least 3 years now.

      16:9 ratio screens with PWM flicker issues and Intel motherboards with security issues all made too thin and cheaply. No thanks.

      • #192122

        I agree with you fully on the 16:9 thing.  Not every computing device is going to be used for movies all the time– for general-purpose computing (browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, what have you), I prefer 16:10 or (even better) 5:4 or 4:3.  That’s been one of the very few things I find (based on reviews; I have not used one) to like about the Surface Laptop.

        As for the rest of the stuff… well, you make it sound like this is a recent issue.  Flickering displays have always been a problem on some models; my very first laptop (purchased with Win ME on it about 16 years ago, but with a Win XP upgrade CD shoved into the box by the OEM) had severe PWM flickering in the lower half of the LCD brightness settings.

        Older laptops mostly have TN displays, and the terrible viewing angles and often terrifically inaccurate color that some of these older displays have more than make up for the 16:10 ratios that were more common a decade ago (though by no means universal).  Aside from a cheap laptop like the one I bought in December, I don’t foresee that I would ever buy anything with a TN display again.

        As for the security issues, those too go way, way back.  My Core 2 Duo laptop is ten years old and has the same Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities as any brand-new system.

        Too thin is certainly a newish thing, but if you’re not buying into the Mac world, you have plenty of choices.  The PC I am using right now to write this is a Dell 15.6″ laptop that is one inch thick with the lid closed– certainly thinner than any of my older laptops ever were, but downright portly compared to the extreme examples of thinness (the ones that are so thin as to be unfixable) that the likes of Apple and Microsoft seem to think we all want these days (and maybe “we,” as represented by regular people, actually do).

        Like the cheap Dell laptop I bought in late 2017, it’s easy to open up for whatever upgrades are desired (the entire bottom cover can be removed after loosening one single (captive) screw, exposing the SSD, HDD, Wifi, fans, battery, CMOS battery, and RAM slots on the larger one), and Dell even provides instructions on how to do it, specifically noting that it won’t void the warranty.

        As always, it’s up to the buyer to sort this out before purchase; some laptops come with “warranty void if broken” stickers over some of the screw holes, so even if you buy the thing in part because it has upgradeable memory as an advertised feature, you’d better not actually try it if you want the warranty to remain in force.  (Looking at you, MSI!)

        One thing that older laptops don’t have is being saddled with Windows 10.  It would be nice to have an OS that I actually find usable preinstalled, but coming from the land of self-built PCs that came with no OS as I do, I find it quite natural to expect to have to set things up myself, whether it be in Windows or otherwise (Linux, in other words).  Only one laptop I’ve ever owned has kept its original OS for very long, and that may have changed if I had not sent the thing back to HP in trade for another model more than a decade ago.


        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

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        • #192162

          For me TN LED backlit panels can be OK if they are calibrated. Yes viewing angles are poor but that doesn’t worry me too much. I can spend 10 – 12  hours per day on a TN panel and not get eye strain. Anything with any flicker would be junk to me.

          Yes 16:10 would be great but they are more expensive to make. We all want cheaper Laptops and we reap what we sow here to a certain degree.

          Thin is good  but not as strong and if you drop a newer Laptop then be prepared for cosmetic damage or worse.

          My latest Laptop is a Sandy Bridge but I mainly use a Core 2 Duo  for the 16:10 screen.  Also I prefer a 1400 x 900 screen to the latest high resolution screens.

          We all love core I5’s and I7’s now but why do we need all those cores? My oldest smart phone has 8 cores and I should have realised then back in 2014 what was happening.

          Now hardware is designed to spy and track everything we do. Yes the latest hardware is mostly faster ( not so much since Sandy Bridge though) but in the drive for more speed Intel in particular have cut corners on security.

          You shouldn’t open your door of your home to anyone but our hardware freely greet anything that comes knocking without consideration of who it might be.

          Speed is great but perspective and security haven’t kept pace with these advances. With the latest Spectre threats I would contend that an older core 2 duo with only 2 threads  is probably harder to hack than a core I7 .

          Since the evolution of the I core series which is nearly 10 years ago there was a massive structural change to the CPU architecture. That works for us but as we can see it can work against us as well in hacking and surveillance of our systems without leaving any traces.   YMMV

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          • #192361

            My latest Laptop is a Sandy Bridge but I mainly use a Core 2 Duo for the 16:10 screen. Also I prefer a 1400 x 900 screen to the latest high resolution screens.

            Sounds like you’re describing my laptop!  It’s also a Core 2 Duo with 1440×900 (which is 16:10, of course).  I appreciate the aspect ratio, and I’ve done what I can to get the Chi-Mei TN display calibrated.  I have not found a premade profile for the panel, and I don’t have the equipment to generate a “real” one myself… I’ve downloaded tons of profiles and found the one I think is the best, but it still has a restricted gamut, and the viewing angles are more annoying to me than to you, so all things considered, I’d prefer an IPS 16:9.

            Now, if my laptop had a better TN, that might be a different story… the $180 Dell I mentioned has a TN display, but it’s a good deal newer than the one in my C2D, and it’s actually not too bad for a TN.  The viewing angles are better than with the one in my C2D, and while it’s far too blue out of the box (which is a really common issue), once I found a profile that’s close, it looks really good, with a much broader gamut than the CMO in the C2D.

            I wish that there was a 14.1 inch 1440×900 IPS display that was electrically compatible with my C2D laptop (LVDS 30 pin)… I’d go for that in a heartbeat if it wasn’t prohibitively expensive.  I haven’t seen an IPS in that size at all; if it was ever made, I’ve not found it.

            Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
            XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

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